Hunter Walker

Hunter Walker is a national affairs reporter for TPM. He came to the site in 2013 from the New York Observer. He has also written for New York Magazine, Gawker, the Village Voice, Forbes, The Daily, and Deadspin. He can be reached at hunter@talkingpointsmemo.com

Articles by Hunter

EMILY's List, the PAC that backs pro-choice female political candidates sent out an email to its supporters Friday urging them to donate to Anthony Weiner's rival, Council Speaker Christine Quinn, in New York's mayoral race and accusing him of "embarrassing" the city.

In the email, EMILY's List Communications Director Jess McIntosh, quoted Quinn's statement that called Weiner's candidacy a "circus" and urged voters to "send the circus packing" in the Democratic primary Sept. 10. EMILY's List endorsed Quinn in January. 

Read the full email below: 

"Subject: I don't want to talk about Carlos Danger

From: Jess McIntosh, EMILY's List 12:09 PM




I grew up in New York City. And I can tell you that New Yorkers deserve better than the circus their mayoral race has turned into.


I actually caught myself glad I'm not home -- where I'd have to see the cover of the NY Post on every street corner. I caught myself NOT missing New York City! Not ok.


Because it's not New York's fault. In Nancy Pelosi's words, Anthony Weiner's behavior is "reprehensible" and "disrespectful of women."


City Council Speaker Chris Quinn is running to become the first woman mayor of New York -- and the polls had her leading long before Anthony Weiner jumped into the race. But she needs your help -- and the help of the entire EMILY's List community -- to win the crowded Democratic primary on September 10th and send the circus packing.


Contribute now to Chris Quinn's campaign to become the next mayor of New York.


This newest scandal isn't just low-brow entertainment -- it has important implications on working families. Chris Quinn put it best herself:


"Being the mayor of New York is serious business and it demands a serious leader. Instead, we have seen a pattern of reckless behavior, consistently poor judgment, and difficulty with the truth."


Embarrassing, right? Well, you and I can change the subject.


Christine Quinn is the first woman and first openly gay official to be elected speaker of New York's City Council. After a dozen years on the council, she has a tremendous record of progress on education, economic development, civil rights, climate protection, and women's health.


She's tough, she's experienced, and she's ready to become the first woman mayor of America's largest city. She just needs the resources to win in a crowded Democratic primary against one very well-known (and many other) opponents.


Show Chris you know she'll be a serious leader for New York City. Contribute now to her campaign.


I want New York City to have a mayor to be proud of -- that's what those amazing people who live there deserve. Let's elect Chris Quinn and put an experienced, tough, dedicated Democratic woman who loves New York into the mayor's office.


Jess McIntosh

Communications Director, EMILY's List"

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A new poll released by NBC 4 New York, the Wall Street Journal, and Marist College Thursday showed Anthony Weiner's latest sexting scandal has cost him his lead in the Democratic primary for New York City mayor's race. Weiner dropped nine points from his first place positioning in last Marist poll, which was released June 26, to 16 percent compared to 25 percent for City Council Speaker Christine Quinn and 14 percent for both Public Advocate Bill de Blasio and former Comptroller Bill Thompson. 

Overall, the gap between Weiner and Quinn has increased 14 percent. While his numbers have slipped, hers have increased since last month's Marist poll, which had Weiner with 25 percent, Quinn with 20 percent for Quinn, and Thompson with 13 percent. 

These numbers are the first public opinion survey to reflect the impact of revelations that Weiner continued to have explicit online exchanges with women after his 2011 resignation from Congress.

Though his standing in the race has slipped, Weiner is not entirely out of contention. However, the poll also showed 43 percent of New York City Democrats want him to drop out of the race. It also showed his unfavorability is at an all-time high since the scandal with a majority of New York City Democrats, 55 percent, indicating they have an unfavorable impression of Weiner. Just 30 percent of Democrats polled view Weiner favorably.

43 percent of New York City Democrats want Anthony Weiner to drop out of the mayor's race in the wake of his latest sexting scandal while 47 percent of Democrats want him to continue campaigning. Though the poll showed voters are divided over whether or not Weiner should end his mayoral bid, it also showed his unfavorability is at an all-time high since the scandal and he is no longer vying for the lead in the Democratic primary.

Prior to the scandal, Weiner had been leading his rivals in multiple polls. New York City election law dictates that, if no one earns at least 40 percent of the Sept. 10 primary vote, the top two candidates will face off in a run-off Sept. 24. 

(Updated 12:44 PM)


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A new Quinnipiac poll released Wednesday afternoon didn't necessarily reflect the impact Anthony Weiner's sexting scandal because it was concluded Tuesday night as the news broke, but it did shed some light on the race and showed positive signs for the candidacy of Comptroller Bill Thompson.

The poll showed Thompson defeating either of his main rivals, Weiner and City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, in the likely Democratic Primary runoff. New York City election law provides that, if no one earns at least 40 percent of the September 10 primary vote, the top two candidates will face off in a run-off Sept. 24. Quinnipiac found Thompson with 51 percent of the vote compared to Quinn's 42 percent in a hypothetical head-to-head between them. Thompson got 52 percent against Weiner's 41 percent in that hypothetical matchup. 

Quinnipiac found Weiner leading with 26 percent in the Democratic primary compared to 22 percent for Quinn and 20 percent for Thompson, however these numbers do not reflect his latest scandal. Furthermore, Thompson has gained substantially since Quinnipiac's last primary poll, which had him at 11 percent. This is Quinnipiac's first poll of likely Democratic primary voters rather than registered voters, which insiders believe makes it a more accurate indication of the race. 

Quinnipiac found Public Advocate Bill de Blasio in fourth place in the Democratic primary field at 15 percent. If Weiner dropped out of the race, which he has indicated he will not do, De Blasio climbs to 21 percent but remains behind Quinn and Thompson. Quinnipiac also polled "a very small sample of likely Republican primary voters" and found former Metropolitan Transit Authority Chairman Joe Lhota with 49 percent compared to billionaire businessman John Catsimatidis' 35 percent. 

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The first major public poll that should reflect some of the impact of Anthony Weiner's latest sexting scandal is scheduled to come out Thursday at noon. Marist College announced on Wednesday afternoon that it will be releasing new numbers "on whether or not New York City Democrats want Anthony Weiner to drop out of the race for mayor" and "other aspects of the 2013 mayoralty contest" in conjunction with NBC 4 New York and the Wall Street Journal. 

Separately, Quinnipiac is scheduled to release a New York City mayoral poll Wednesday at 4PM, however a Quinnipiac spokesman told TPM that poll was conducted from July 18 "through last night," so it won't necessarily reflect Weiner's scandal, which led the newscast's yesterday evening. 

Thursday's Marist/NBC/WSJ poll should give at least some indication as to whether Weiner's standing has been affected by the new revelations about his digital dalliances. Prior to the latest scandal, Weiner was leading in some recent polls and was seen by many insiders as one of the top contenders in the race

Weiner's latest sexting scandal will probably hurt his numbers, but it may not be time to count him out. Before Weiner entered the race in May, many experts and insiders assumed his 2011 Twitter scandal would prevent him from being a viable candidate. Weiner defied those initial doubters and the strong numbers he has enjoyed in the race up until this point seemed to be fueled by the high name recognition he earned through his scandalous past.

The real question is whether the bad boy celebrity status that has led to Weiner's strong poll numbers so far will actually translate to support on primary day in September.

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New York City mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner sent an email to supporters Wednesday afternoon adressing his latest sexting scandal

Along with reiterating his claim that his habit of having explicit online exchanges with women who are not his wife is "behind" him, Weiner apologized for not having been more clear about the timeline of his digital dalliances. 

Weiner resigned from the House of Representatives in 2011 after photos from e-affairs he said he conducted from 2008 until that year were published online. Soon after he announced his comeback mayoral campaign in May, Weiner admitted more photos might emerge, but did not make clear that he continued having sexual communications online after his resignation from Congress. 

"I regret not saying explicitly when these exchanges happened," he wrote in his email. 

Read the full email below:

From: Anthony Weiner <anthonyweiner@anthonyweiner.com>
Date: Wed, Jul 24, 2013 at 2:04 PM
Subject: Worth fighting for
To: [Redacted]



When I decided to run for mayor this year I knew it would be tough. I knew that the mistakes of my personal life would make things difficult for me and for my family. From the very beginning, some people insisted that I shouldn't even be allowed to run.

I believe that question should be left to the voters. This fight is too important to leave New Yorkers without a choice. And I want to give them the power to decide who their Mayor will be.

I have waged a campaign focused on fighting for the middle class and those struggling to make it there. I published a book of 64 ideas on everything from lowering taxes on New York families to creating the first ever single-payer health care plan for our city. Day after day, I've visited citizens who have been hungry for a voice after years of feeling marginalized or ignored.

New Yorkers responded in resounding ways. They volunteered for our campaign. They submitted their own ideas. They made thousands of small donations. And they showed up on street corners, subway stations and community centers to say hello or give me a piece of their mind.

Now, with 47 days left until the primary, some powerful voices are making it clear that they still don't want me to run. Yesterday's news has given them fresh fodder.

I owe it to you to try to explain. 

Sending these embarrassing messages to women online, whom I never met, was a personal failing that was hurtful to my wife and a part of my life that Huma and I have put behind us. These things I did, as you have read in the papers, didn't happen once. It was a terrible mistake that I unfortunately returned to during a rough time in our marriage. After a lot of reflection, some professional help, and a general reorientation of my life, Huma has given me a second chance. I will never stop being grateful for that.

Before and after announcing my run for Mayor, I repeatedly answered every question about these mistakes. I was clear that these relationships took place over an extended period of time with more than one person. I regret not saying explicitly when these exchanges happened. 

But the bottom line is that the "news" today is about my past life.

Some people may find my personal life reason not to listen to me. I completely understand that some may not ever even consider voting for me. But I'm going to keep trying to bring them around and earn their support. This fight is too important to give up, because I've had embarrassing personal things become public.

This campaign isn't about me. It's about a great city that is beginning to lose its mantle as the Capital of the Middle Class. It's about the challenge of finding affordable housing, a good job with benefits and a public school that attracts the greatest teachers and produces the smartest kids. This race for Mayor isn’t about me. It's about you. And I'll never lose sight of that.


New Yorkers don't quit, and I'll never quit on you. 



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Last Saturday, handfuls of people around the world celebrated the fourth annual "Swastika Rehabilitation Day," an event dedicated to putting the Nazi symbol in a more positive light. The festivities included planes carrying swastika banners over New York City and revelers with swastika facepaint and signs designed to highlight the symbol's pre-Hitler roots. Swastika Rehabilitation Day was sponsored by the Raelian movement, a religion based on the teachings of a French man named Claude Vorilhon (A.K.A Rael) who claims he learned the true origins of humanity during a "dramatic encounter with a human being from another planet" in 1973.

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New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, who along with Anthony Weiner has been one of the leading contenders in the city's mayoral election, gave her first public reaction to his latest sexting scandal by issuing a statement Wednesday morning.

Though Quinn stopped short of calling for Weiner to drop out of the mayor's race, as some of his other opponents have, she criticized his judgement and accused him of bringing a "circus" to the campaign. Her full statement is below:

"New York City is the largest and most complex city in the country. It has a budget the size of most states. It's home to 8.4 million New Yorkers who day in and day out work hard to pay their bills, raise their families, and create better lives for their children. This city deserves a mayor with the maturity and judgment to lead, a real record of delivering results for the people of New York, and a fundamental understanding that the job is not about self aggrandizement —it's about making the lives of New Yorkers better today than they were yesterday.  


The circus that Mr. Weiner has brought to the mayor’s race these last two months has been a disservice to New Yorkers who are looking for someone who has the judgment and maturity to lead this City and a record of actually delivering real results for them.


Being the Mayor of New York is serious business and it demands a serious leader. Instead we have seen a pattern of reckless behavior, consistently poor judgment, and difficulty with the truth. New Yorkers deserve something completely different: they deserve a mayor who has the judgment, maturity, record, and vision to lead this City. That’s what I offer as mayor.


We are less than 7 weeks until Primary Day and I intend to vigorously make the case to New Yorkers, that if you want a mayor who has the judgment, maturity, record, and vision for leading this City, I am your candidate.


If you want a mayor who has real ideas for making this city more affordable –backed up by real results, I am your candidate.

And if you want a mayor who understands just how serious running this City actually is, I am your candidate.


So, I am going to get back to work, ignore the sideshow, and continue making the case that there is only one candidate who has the record, vision, and know-how to lead this great city and do so with the seriousness it deserves."

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With his wife at his side, New York City mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner appeared at a hastily scheduled press conference Tuesday evening to address lewd photos and explicit online chats between him and a young woman that were released last night. Weiner stressed his past behavior was "behind" him and his wife even though the new batch of photos and chats occurred in 2012, over a year after he resigned from the House of Representatives due to other explicit online exchanges that became public.

"The resignation was not a point in time that was nearly as important to my wife and me as the challenges in our marriage and the challenges of the things that I had done and working through them," Weiner said. "Some of these things happened before my resignation, some of them happened after, but the fact is that that was also the time that my wife and I were working through some things in our marriage. I'm glad these things are behind us."

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UPDATE: Weiner will address the new allegations in a 5pm ET press conference. Watch it live here.

New York City mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner issued a statement Tuesday responding to the publication of explicit online chat and photo exchanges that allegedly occurred between him and a 22-year-old woman that were published on the gossip site TheDirty.com. Weiner confirmed the exchanges were real:

“I said that other texts and photos were likely to come out, and today they have. As I have said in the past, these things that I did were wrong and hurtful to my wife and caused us to go through challenges in our marriage that extended past my resignation from Congress. While some things that have been posted today are true and some are not, there is no question that what I did was wrong. This behavior is behind me. I've apologized to Huma and am grateful that she has worked through these issues with me and for her forgiveness. I want to again say that I am very sorry to anyone who was on the receiving end of these messages and the disruption that this has caused. As my wife and I have said, we are focused on moving forward.”

Prior to Weiner's resignation in 2011 after the first revelations about his explicit online activities, he admitted he had "exchanged messages and photos of an explicit nature with about six women over the last three years." After announcing his comeback mayoral campaign, Weiner said it was possible more photos might emerge from these exchanges. 

Quotes from the unnamed woman in The Dirty's posts described the exchanges as having occurred after Weiner's initial scandal in 2011, however the timestamps appear to have been edited out of the images of the chats published on the site.

"This was a bad situation for me because I really admired him. Even post scandal, I thought he was misunderstood. Until I got to know him. I thought I loved him. Pretty pathetic," the anonymous woman is quoted as saying. 

In a follow up post on The Dirty, the woman claimed Weiner initiated contact with her on the social networking site Formspring in July 2012. They continued to correspond on the phone and through a Yahoo email account using the alias "Carlos Danger."

"We would send naked images to each other and have phone sex. Anthony Weiner would send me penis pictures from his Carlos Danger yahoo email to my Gmail," the woman is quoted as saying. 

The posts on The Dirty included multiple blurred shots of a man's penis that Weiner allegedly sent to the woman. According to The Dirty, the woman said her relationship with Weiner "began to fizzle out" by November and they only "spoke once" in December 2012. She said he contacted her on Facebook in April of this year after he appeared in a lengthy profile in the New York Times Magazine in which he said he was considering entering the mayor's race to ask her what she thought of the article. 

Apart from Weiner's statement and the posts on The Dirty the claims of the woman, who remains unnamed, have not been independently corroborated. The Dirty Blogger Nik Richie has not responded to multiple requests for comment. Weiner and his campaign have also not responded to multiple requests for comment about the specific timeline of the exchanges. 

(Updated 3:22 PM)

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